Forgiveness is probably the most difficult challenge of all to address, analyze and put into action…There might be raw pain and anger and regret buried so deeply within you that only Divine Power can help you sort through and release it. You might not feel as if you want to release it – ever!
You might feel you want to hang on to the righteous indignation and the burning inside – the addictive anger that lets you know you’re alive.
If the anger and regret is against yourself, you might feel you don’t deserve to release it, that for your punishment you should suffer the agony for the rest of your life.
You might experience fear when you think of forgiving. But fear of what? Fear of being hurt again? Fear of losing the imaginary protective shell you’ve built around yourself to make yourself invisible, vainly hoping the shell hides from others your fear or shame or weakness or guilt, or…
You might feel you lose your identity when you forgive, that somehow your righteous indignation or regret is who you are, that people feel sorry for you – the victim – making you noticed and cared about, less invisible, and that if you don’t hold on to that identity, you won’t know who you are anymore, you will have lost an importance or something unnamable you won’t know how to get back and will feel adrift.
You might be angry with God or have turned your back on God, because if there was a God, then why didn’t God help you in your time of need? Why did God help others and not you? How could you love a God that didn’t love you enough to stop what happened?
Might any of that sound familiar and fit in with the angst inside you?
Why forgiveness? Why does it matter?…There might be instances or injustices in your life where forgiveness seems impossible – anything from a lost child, or a murder, or a rape, or sexual or physical abuse, or a debilitating illness, or unfairness in your career, or betrayal, or a cheating spouse, or bullying at school, or bullying at home…and the list continues. There are many past or current issues where you might feel you cannot ever, ever forgive that person, or circumstance, or yourself – or God. If so, please remember…
FORGIVENESS IS FOR YOU, THE FORGIVER, not for the perpetrator.
Excerpt from Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life, p, 337. Cathey, Carolyne. 2015
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 6: When you don’t forgive, who is hurt?
Previous Posts: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret
The following truth is significant. It’s okay to feel guilt, shame and regret. You have my permission. In fact, you can’t live life in the physical without experiencing them. But what is imperative to a healed life is not to get mired in your feelings. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Feel them! But even when the pain wrenches so deeply within you that you doubt you’ll ever be free of it, there is still something for which to be grateful, and that is –
Gratitude you feel emotions, even when painful.
Some people, like charming sociopaths, don’t feel emotions. Can you imagine not feeling love, or even remorse and guilt? I’m not a psychological expert, but my belief is that these people have hardened their hearts like concrete, encasing them in an invisible protective barrier to keep from feeling long-ago early childhood hurts from people they trusted, and in self-protection have vowed to never allow anyone to hurt them again. These are people who seem incapable of feeling love, joy and compassion. I’ve worked with a few of them who contacted me through this site, and they ask really tough questions, like…
- What does love feel like?
- What does regret feel like?
- What is sadness?
- How can I feel something when I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like?
I promise you, you don’t want that emotionless wasteland for you. If that happens to be one of your personality challenges, you are invited to contact me and I’ll try to help connect you with a better, more meaningful life-path – a feeling path. Addressing your personality issue takes courage. No matter on which side of this challenge you are, turning your life around takes courage. But you can do it.
What I’m saying is that if you feel, guilt, shame and regret, you are blessed. Emotions are there for you to experience. They are part of who you are. As someone told me one time, our sensitivities are part of our poetry.
If you don’t experience any sensitivities, you can’t relate to others who do feel them. But as I stated before, the trick is not to get stuck there and allow them to negatively impact your life. However the first challenge is that you can’t move forward if you don’t acknowledge them. Choose to work on this issue until the next post where we’ll discuss how to forgive – ourselves and others.
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 5: How do I forgive when I’m still hurt and angry?
Previous Posts: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret
Believing yourself unworthy means you mistakenly feel separate and alone, which leads to poor choices and even poorer results.
Here is the truth.
You are never alone. I promise! I know this for a fact. I, too, questioned and doubted that continual connection with the Divine which made me feel separate and alone; in the process, I made a mess of my life. I made choices I regretted. Once I truly understood the truth of our Divinity – a Loving Force that with our permission will guide us to the best life possible – my life shifted from doubts and wrong turns to one of joy, purpose, and emboldened with God-confidence.
Do you practice a negative habit of putting yourself down, being humble, thinking you don’t count? Do you let others treat you with disrespect? Out of fear or feeling you have no where else to go, do you allow a spouse, boss, parent or peer, to abuse you either physically or emotionally? If the last sentence is true, find help at Stop the Abuse.
When you delude yourself into believing you are less incredible than you are, you cheat God, you cheat yourself, and you cheat the world. If you love God, then you must also love yourself because God created you. Whether or not you love God, or believe in God, the truth is that God created you. God loves you. God empowers you.
When you feel beaten down by life, only God can lift you from the negativity trap that holds you down like an anchor, a trap that seems impossible to escape. You don’t have to settle for such a life. There is help. There is a better way.
Can you agree we aren’t born with feelings of unworthiness? If so, then how did we end up thinking so little of ourselves? What happened that we allowed others to decide our worth?
The truth is that we are created from love and goodness. Then life takes over and starts grinding down our self-esteem. Perhaps parents or teachers or peers who, usually from some form of fear reaction, start putting us down, chipping away at our feelings of worth. For some, often unexplainable reason, we think they surely know better about us than we do, and accept their criticism as true.
Most often our lack of confidence is because we make mistakes. We all make mistakes! Granted, some are more painful than others, but we all make them. One of our biggest mistakes is letting others decide our worth! Making mistakes is part of our eternal spirit experiencing this temporary life. By the way, did you know that the word ‘sin’ in the original Aramaic of Jesus’ language really means ‘mistake’?
To quote from the book by author Carolyne Cathey that I recommend for improving feelings of self-worth, Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life,
“In your schooling, did you always get a perfect score for every homework assignment and test? No? Life is the same kind of schooling. If you never made mistakes that would be the greatest mistake of all because, for one, that isn’t possible when in the physical, and for two, you wouldn’t have been taking the risks necessary for growth and development—you would have learned judgment and arrogance instead of understanding and compassion.” ~ Jesus (p. 352)
Mistakes are part of life. But, what happens when we err? We, along with society, sit in judgment about our imperfections, which, oddly, means others are also sitting in judgment of themselves because they also make mistakes. That is why no one is to judge another (which is a form of hypocrisy), because they are judging others for what they themselves have done or are doing.
Part of the problem is that mistakes can vary from simple to horrendous, at least in our eyes. People can get hurt. Sometimes we can’t ‘fix’ the mistake. In future submissions, we’ll discuss how to release even those horrid errors, so keep reading as the posts are published.
Here is the good news! If you want to turn your life around, all you have to do is ask. One of the strongest prayers is “Help me!” Jesus meets you where you are, without judgment. If you let him, he’ll be your BFF (Best Friend Forever).
Honor the God within you. I encourage you to decide, this moment, that you will never again put yourself down. You will never again allow anyone else to put you down. I’m not talking about constructive criticism, I’m talking about hurtful attempts to make you feel less than you are. Heed the statement, “God don’t make no junk.” And, “Don’t say anything about yourself you wouldn’t say about God.”
Dare you disparage your Creator by criticizing the creation? If you have a challenge with self-confidence, aren’t you tired of living the falsehood that you are not good enough? Are you beginning to sense that you’ve allowed others to decide your worth for you? And believed them? And that in your acceptance of their incorrect beliefs of who you are, you allowed others to control you—to control your destiny? If so, you accept and live a lie that is the opposite of the truth, that—
“You are worthy. You are of God. You are one with your Source, your only Source. You are magnificent.” ~ Jesus.
Quote from (Cathey, Carolyne. Divine Messages from Jesus for a magnificent life. P. 289.)
(To be continued)
Next: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 4: Permission to Feel.
Previous Healing Guilt and Shame Posts
PART 2: IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES
It’s important for your healing to understand the difference between guilt, shame and regret.
Because unless you understand the cause of these emotions and actually ‘feel’ them rather than trying to ‘forget’ them (which never works), the aftereffects can be wounding, negatively impacting everything in your life from your relationships to your career. They certainly affect your happiness, or lack of, and trigger you to continue making unhealthy choices – ensnaring you in a trap of your own making as mentioned in Part 1.
Guilt arises from doing something you knew wasn’t right at the time, but hoped you could get away with and not get caught. The incident could be legal, moral or ethical in nature. Some people are sorry they were caught but not remorseful. Some people can be affected so negatively by their guilt that they go into depression, even contemplate suicide. They wrongly believe they can’t ever forgive themselves over their mistakes, that they are unworthy of love, of respect, of goodness, of life. Unworthiness results in a repetitive cycle of self-punishing choices – an “I don’t deserve anything good’ attitude. Don’t believe it! There is hope for you. There is help. Stay with me on this. What do you lose by giving yourself a chance? Nothing. But you have everything to gain.
Regret is generated from within, a negative self-recrimination from committing some type of wrong, either intentional or accidental. Regret can stem from action or inaction, like when we could have made a better choice than the one we made. Or we could have done something or said something that would have helped, but we didn’t, and is now too late. Regret aches painfully inside us because we can’t go back and fix the damage. It hurts. And keeps hurting, for years if we let it. Regret can also result in feelings of unworthiness. The good news is that regret can also inspire a determination to do better next time, turning a negative into a positive. How do you accomplish that turnaround? Keep reading, and don’t give up.
Shame is usually the emotion that causes the most severe negative self-esteem. Shame is generated from outside influences like society, family and peers who tell us we should feel badly about ‘something’. They try to debase us through humiliation, rejection or criticism because they believe we failed them and aren’t good enough, won’t ever be good enough. Bullying falls under this category. A ‘charming sociopath’ uses this technique to manipulate and control, doing their best to destroy our self-esteem and self-worth. The good news in this category is that they succeed in mistreating us only if we let them. Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you. Yes, such a stance requires courage and faith. But you can do it. During this series we’ll work on strengthening your confidence and belief in yourself. Choose empowerment.
In the next several posts we’ll address healing solutions. Solutions that can turn your life from negative into positive, from sadness into joy, from feeling impotent to powerful, from false unworthiness into a true, amazing worthiness beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Stay with this series. You can do it!
(To be continued)
Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret, Part 3.
Have you, at least once in your life, felt guilt, shame and regret? Does it make you feel unworthy? Do your false beliefs of unworthiness lead you to repeatedly choose unhealthy relationships and situations?
You are not alone. Everyone makes poor choices. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone feels guilt, shame and regret.
For some people, though, the feeling of unworthiness and false beliefs that they don’t deserve the best in life is a trap they’ve sadly built and set for themselves. A trap they keep stepping into. And, when they get caught in it, escape seems almost impossible. Not true! That self-accepted belief is a damaging lie they declare to themselves, with great harm to themselves and those around them.
Are you one of those people? Don’t you hate it? Do you want a way out?
Escape is possible. Would you like to know how to flip the negatives into positives? Would you like to turn around your damaging beliefs about yourself and move toward healing?
Let’s work together on your healing. Over the next several posts we’ll discuss how to escape the trap you’ve set for yourself, and how to choose a better way – a healing way. (To be continued)
I’m posting an informative and helpful article by Carolyne Cathey
Have you, at least once in your life, felt guilt, shame and/or regret?
Congratulations! You share a commonality with anyone who has ever experienced, or will experience, life in the physical.
Here is a quote from the “Divine Messages from Jesus” book, Chapter 11, by Carolyne Cathey.
“You mistakenly believe that outside forces control you, when in reality it’s the forces inside of you that affect you. I am inside of you. God is inside of you. There is no greater power. This power gives you freedom from bondage to whatever you believe is injustice. But first you must forgive others, and yourself, because forgiveness breaks the chains of domination, releasing the inner power, releasing you, freeing you, transferring the power to where it rightfully belongs—with you.” ~ Jesus, Divine Message
The three negative emotions – Guilt, shame and regret – are important to recognize – and to feel – and yet are wounding when not faced, acknowledged and released, and this is most important – when you don’t forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness. That means unconditional love of yourself – as you are loved by your Creator, without judgment, and with compassion. That is how you are loved by your Source, the example of how you are to love others – and yourself. And yet, this is often the most difficult to accomplish. So how do we do it?
This post addresses five segments:
- GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FEEL THOSE EMOTIONS.
- WHY SELF FORGIVENESS IS IMPORTANT
- WHY IS SELF FORGIVENESS SO CHALLENGING? What holds us back?
- THE SECRET TO LETTING GO
- AND THE MOST SURPRISING: GRATITUDE
1. PERMISSION TO FEEL
This is significant, it’s okay to feel guilt, shame and regret. You have my permission. In fact, you can’t live life in the physical without experiencing them. They reveal that you care. But what is imperative to a healed life is not to get mired in them. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Feel them! But even when the pain wrenches so deeply within you that you doubt you’ll ever be free of it, there is still something for which to be grateful, and that is –gratitude that you CAN feel.
Some people are challenged with a certain type of personality trait in that they don’t feel any emotion. Can you imagine not feeling love, or even remorse and guilt? I am not a psychological expert, but my belief is that these people have hardened their hearts, encasing them in an invisible protective barrier to keep from feeling long-ago early-childhood hurts from people they trusted, and have vowed never to allow anyone to hurt them again. These are people who seem incapable of feeling love, joy and compassion. There are wounded souls who have either been hurt by those who don’t feel emotions, or those who truly don’t feel. The emotionless ones ask really tough questions, like
What does love feel like? What does regret feel like? What is sadness? How can I feel something when I don’t know how it feels?
I promise you, you don’t want that for you. If that happens to be one of your personality challenges, you are encouraged to work with someone who can help you connect with a better, more meaningful life-path – a feeling path. That takes courage, by the way. There is a lot of fear associated with both sides of the issue. Change is possible, though, not matter what you here. But first, you must choose to change.
What I’m saying is that if you feel, guilt, shame and regret, you are blessed. Emotions are there for you to experience. If you don’t experience them, you can’t relate to others who do feel them. But as I stated before, the trick is not to get stuck there and allow it to negatively impact your life. However, you can’t move forward if you don’t acknowledge them, which is the first challenge. Recognizing the issue is there.
2. WHY IS SELF-FORGIVENESS IMPORTANT?
For one, you aren’t the only one affected by your difficulty in not forgiving yourself. You, yes, but the ones around you are also affected, innocents, like children, family, friends, your job, projects, and the planet.
Think of some of your life choices you made when you were or are mired in guilt, in shame, in regret. My guess is that your choices made from that hurting place weren’t the most positive ones for your life. Most are fear-based. Our negative feelings about ourselves shift our behavior, our thoughts, our actions, our choices, our inner battle between self-love and self-disgust, not even considering what kind of example we are setting for ourselves and others. It affects everything!
Sometimes we withdraw into our own protective shell, vowing we will never allow anyone to hurt us again. Isn’t that what we do when we feel guilt and shame? We withdraw, perhaps pretend to the world we are not upset – That kind of reaction doesn’t heal. It doesn’t free you.
The following is a compilation quote about forgiveness from Chapter 11 of the Divine Messages from Jesus Book on why this step to healing is crucial: Reasons why Self-forgiveness matters.
“In truth, you can’t heal until you forgive. Forgiveness expands you, deepens you, and allows the inner light to shine more brightly from within you because you’ve removed limitations hindering you from expressing and living the fullness of your being. Forgiveness opens you more fully into who you really are—Oneness within Spirit. One within God.” Jesus, Divine Message
Sounds good right? Sounds easy? Maybe not so much. Then why is it so difficult?
If that quote is true, and it is, then why is forgiveness, and especially self-forgiveness so problematic?
Which of these might fit in with your thinking?
- You might believe you don’t deserve to release it, that for your punishment you should suffer the agony for the rest of your life.
- You might be angry with God or have turned your back on God.
- There might be instances or injustices in your life where forgiveness seems impossible—anything from a lost child, murder, rape, sexual or physical abuse, debilitating illness, unfairness in your career, betrayal, cheating spouse, bullying at school or at home . . . and the list continues. There are many past or current issues where you might think you cannot ever forgive that person, or circumstance, or yourself—or God.
- Identity. The decision to forgive is sometimes frightening because you’ve identified with that injustice as part of who you are, and letting go can feel somewhat like being a tetherless balloon blown away in search of a new, unknown identity.
- You can even feel guilt if you were the one attacked or betrayed, because the ‘what ifs’ still haunt. What if I had yelled louder, hadn’t gone down that street, told my parents/his wife/the police, thought before I spoke, fought harder against temptation, loved myself more, trusted more in God, showed love instead of anger, what if what if what if?
Can you relate to any of those? How have those events How has the event shaped you and your life? Your joy? Your choices? Has that incident influenced the decisions you made that resulted in where you are right now?
If your unforgiveness negatively shaped your past choices, and maybe even your current choices, ask yourself if you are tired of the shackles and are ready to move toward freedom and power.
**NOTE: EVEN THOUGH THE PAST IS PART OF THE WHOLE, EACH BREATH IS A NEW BIRTH, A NEW BEGINNING. YOUR LIFE STARTS ANEW RIGHT THIS MOMENT.**
What do you choose for you? Ongoing self-flagellation, or freedom? How long do you continue to enslave yourself to your guilt? The rest of your life? Really?? Isn’t it time to release what no longer serves you? But how? How do you get unstuck?
4. THE SECRET TO LETTING GO – LOVING YOUR PAST
From the “Divine Messages from Jesus” book, by Carolyne Cathey
“Listen carefully. There is a secret to letting go of the regrets and it will sound the opposite of what you expect. Your supposed failure is because what you’ve been attempting is from the mind, not the heart. Remember how I’ve said that love is all that matters? What people often don’t realize, is that statement is true even of the past. What most do when trying to heal the past is try to forget it, to block it out, which is mental, when what is most healing is to work from the heart and embrace the past‑—to love it, love everything about you— including your past. Including your mistakes.
“Start this moment with healing and letting go of the past as you remember it and is no longer serving you. Without forgiveness, your past is an anchor chaining you from taking flight into all that is your full potential.
“As you remember it’ means that many, when they look at their past, mainly see and feel their regrets, guilt, anger, and even self-loathing for what they feel they should have done better—all of the should haves and why didn’t I’s. Sometimes you see yourselves as victims mired in pain and anger that you have difficulty releasing. Believing you are a victim is disempowering and conflicting—guilt that you didn’t somehow prevent it from happening, and yet continually giving someone else power over your life because you refuse to release it.
“What you don’t see is the glory in your past. You forget that you did what you believed was the right choice at the time, and there is glory in that. Those experiences are part of learning and growth.
“If you never made mistakes that would be the greatest mistake of all because, for one, that isn’t possible when in the physical, and for two, you wouldn’t have been taking the risks necessary for growth and development—you would have learned judgment and arrogance instead of understanding and compassion.”
Then Jesus reveals about the gift inside the pain.
“Mostly what no one recognizes is the gift inside even the sad and angry and painful moments. There is always a gift. Always, even though you might not recognize it for the blessing it is. The key to releasing the pain is to acknowledge those gifts, those treasures, despite the awfulness of the memories, so that you can truly love yourself for the wonderful being you are.”
Then he adds the challenge:
“This moment is the perfect time for you to dig out those past moments and send love to all of the negative memories and regrets and guilt. Discover the pearls within that are formed from the friction. Those pearls are yours to claim. Love those moments and accept them for what they are—life’s lessons—and love them as part of the treasure of who you are right now.
“Love and congratulate yourself for daring to live. Love is compassionate, so be compassionate. Love heals. And remember, you are not in this alone. Go inward and ask for help in the healing. Ask to see your past through God’s eyes, through the lens of love.”
The next hurdle, I will add, is to actually feel gratitude for those moments. But how? How do we go beyond forgiveness to gratitude for what seems impossible to release?
Have there been instances in your life where, once you got through the challenge, you were actually grateful it happened? Grateful for the results?
In reference to going beyond forgiveness to gratitude, Jesus said in the Divine message:
“In order for you to forgive, you must first have something to forgive. That’s where the gratitude comes in, to be thankful for the experiences providing you the opportunity for forgiveness that results in the growth and enrichment and strengthening and enlightenment of your soul. Every single thing you experienced, no matter how you labeled it, was a life-lesson leading you to realize your greatness despite all that is playing out around you. Each lesson has a pearl within, a treasure. Each lesson leads you to the truth that you are not alone—you are one with the Power of the Universe.
“Yes, be thankful. Be thankful to learn that you are not your experiences. Be thankful that I do not judge you and that you should not judge yourself or others. Be thankful that I am with you always. Be thankful that you are truly special and that I love you. I, too, when on this earth, was misunderstood, tortured and crucified, and yet I forgave. For your own personal healing and joy, I ask the same of you. Forgive. Then go beyond forgiveness, to gratitude.”
From a personal note, this truly does work. I know. I took his ‘secret’ and claimed the pearls I didn’t know were there, and would never have known if not for the message. Reaching from the heart, and not the mind, I released a lot of the fear when I realized that even if I could go back to try to change what happened, when I really thought about it, I would have made the same decision. In working through this, you find peace with your past, you learn to love yourself, feel good about yourself.
It’s time to heal your past. There is no better moment than right now. Why delay? Wouldn’t you like to move from guilt into healing? From regret to inner peace and love? You deserve nothing less. You are magnificent. All you have to do is know that, no matter your life experiences, that “you are magnificent” is your truth.
EVEN THOUGH THE PAST IS PART OF THE WHOLE, EACH BREATH IS A NEW BIRTH, A NEW BEGINNING. YOUR LIFE STARTS ANEW RIGHT THIS MOMENT.
What do you choose for you? Ongoing self-flagellation, or freedom? Isn’t it time to release what no longer serves you?
The answer is yes, because in truth, you are magnificent.
Credit to Carolyne Cathey